Showing kindness makes us feel good and is the best value considered

Showing kindness makes us feel good and is the best value considered

We value kindness over any other value. When psychologists grouped values ​​into ten categories and asked people which was most important, kindness stood out, beating hedonism, an exciting life, creativity, ambition, tradition, safety, obedience, or even social justice, according to the University of London psychologist Anat Bardi , who studies value systems.

The results were the same in the dozens of countries he studied: kindness was always number 1 .

Causes personal well-being

Kindness and cooperation work for many species, whether it’s bacteria, flowers, or our fellow primate bonobos. And if we consider that others are usually cruel or rude, it is simply because that are very striking things: the norm is kindness .

In addition, being cooperative and altruistic with others produces satisfaction with yourself . It is the secret ingredient that makes us donate blood during disasters, or it explains why most industrialized nations spend at least 20% of their money on social programs such as housing and education .

In general, our bodies are not only programmed to be nice, they reward us for being nice. "Kindness makes you happier and being happier prompts you to do kind deeds," says labor economist Richard Layard , who studies happiness at the London School of Economics and is the author of the book Can We Be Happier?

University of California Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky has put that concept to the test in numerous experiments over 20 years and has repeatedly found that people feel better when they are kind to others, even more than when they are kind to themselves. themselves .

The more isolated groups are more likely to feel threatened by others and are more likely to morally exclude, dehumanize. However, the more we have a relationship with other groups, the relationships are harmonized, balanced . Or, at least, it tends to do so.

These occur thanks, in part, to the so-called "contact hypothesis" which is a method, formulated by Gordon Allport , used to stop conflicts between groups or individuals by putting them in contact to reduce prejudice and increase communication. He also suggested 4 optimal conditions for contact:

  • The equality of condition between the groups in the situation.
  • Common objectives.
  • Cooperation between groups.
  • The support of the authorities.